During the annual Common Council Meeting held at the Senior Center last Monday, the third in a series of public hearings on a proposed law to rescind Peekskill’s ban on tattoo studios entertained comment from all comers. I was struck by how well informed some members of the Council, and particularly the mayor, have become on the issues surrounding this topic. Though there were few comments, those who raised concerns were well and thoroughly answered and seemed convinced that our Council, Planning Commission, and professional city planning staff have covered all the bases.
Indeed, they have. Concerns about blood born disease (both use of sterile instruments and proper disposal of sharps), city oversight, limits on location and density, hours of operation, and more are all dealt with thoroughly in the proposed law, which has evolved in response to both support and concerns expressed over many months. Read the full text of the proposed law at http://www.cityofpeekskill.com/sites/default/files/agendas/3_public_hearing_legislation.pdf
The willingness of elected officials to reexamine and modify their initial positions on an issue in response to comments from us, the public, is the essence of representative democracy. This level of responsiveness should not be difficult for local government to achieve, but in some places, and at some times, this is, at best, a rare event. Even in Peekskill there was a time not so many years ago when it was routine to pass a law on the same evening the public hearing was held. It always struck me as a slap in the face. That is no longer true here. As cautious optimism has always seemed to me the appropriate default position for a citizen in a democracy, I’m hoping our City’s record of openness and responsiveness over recent years will remain consistent far into the future. It might even serve as an example of best practices to other Westchester communities.
Read my previous Patch post on this topic at